Kang Min Woo leads a relatively peaceful life with his younger brother Kang Jin Woo. Min Woo has been captivated by Park Shin Ae, friend to Jin Woo and daughter to Park Heung Su. Min Woo, being shy, manipulates Shin Ae into going to the movies with him and his brother, Jin Woo, by telling her it's out of sympathy for his brother who studies too hard. The next day at the theaters, while Min Woo was in amusement from watching a film smoke began seeping in. An outburst came through the doors of a soldier beating a man to death and everyone inside ran out of the theatre in fear. That day soldiers went on a rampage against the citizens, assaulting everyone and anyone. Park Heung Su, father to Shin Ae, tried to find out what was happening by seeking out General Choi who was in-charge of this infiltration into his town. But nothing could stop the soldiers not even Heung Su who was once a general himself. The citizens form a militia were determined to protect their loved ones. Out of anger ... Written by
"Based on actual events" which are more interesting than the movie
Lovers of history and film are often disappointed when a movie is "based on actual events." Based on a 1980 democratization protest in Gwangju Korea, Hwaryeohan hyuga (May 18) fails to depict anything more than military abuse of power. Prior to seeing the film at the Hawaii International Film Festival, I was unaware of the massacre. I enjoy Korean television dramas and found this almost as entertaining, though in a movie-of-the-week fashion. Characters and actions depicted in the movie seem artificial and the filmmaker seemed afraid to depict any political view other than love for Korea and Gwangju. The many fans of Jun-gi Lee on hand for the screening were probably mollified by his presence. While I feel the film trivializes the sacrifices made by citizens to advance democracy in Korea, it motivated me to learn more about Gwangju.
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